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My career: From bumbling neophyte to pioneering diplomat

The purpose of sharing these accounts -- particularly during Women's History Month -- is to show that women, like men, can grow from bumbling neophytes to competent leaders. For me, that has meant losing my balance and losing my way. Occasionally, I've floated gracefully in a grand jeté, then sprinted the last mile of a marathon. But most of the time I've plodded along, often stumbling, then catching myself, on the journey.

In the last four decades, I've encountered admirers (sweet) and critics (more important). I've been blessed with patient, and not so patient, instructors. They've passed on tough lessons: branch out, speak for others, take nothing for granted, claim the obvious, listen and learn, plain old bluff. As their student, I'm continuing to unearth a simple formula for a complex world.

I could wrap my stories in self-deprecation, soft-pedaling my accomplishments in the way women are trained to. Or, I could just tell you about them, with all the fumbles, guts and glory -- like men would -- and hope you'll delight in what a woman can do to shape history...

from CNN - read full text


Ambassador Swanee Hunt served as U.S. Ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997. She currently serves as the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and as chair of Inclusive Security in Washington.

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